New Initiative for Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS) Launched: UAS4EUROPE

Photograph by SwissCore

UAS4EUROPE aims to strengthen the role of universities of applied sciences at the European level.

Europe needs greater and stronger involvement of its universities of applied sciences (UAS). This assertion is unavoidable if we look at European policy objectives in the area of innovation and growth. The European challenge-based approach to research and innovation must generate more impact power. However, the potential impact of the UAS within this process has not yet been fully utilised.

On the other hand, many UAS strive for increased engagement: the prospect of fruitful international collaboration, promising cross-border partnerships, and well-resourced European funding programmes are all strong incentives for them to play a more important role at the European level. However, adequate opportunities to do so have been missing so far.

Therefore, a group of representatives for UAS from different European countries has teamed up and started a joint initiative to increase UAS’s presence and visibility on the European stage.

Yesterday, UAS4EUROPE was officially launched at a high-level event in Brussels, with Director-General for Research and Innovation Robert-Jan Smits among the attendees.

UAS4EUROPE aims at providing a central platform for European UAS, allowing them to join forces and speak with one voice. This main asset for UAS is also an asset for the European Commission, as Robert-Jan Smits confirmed yesterday: “It’s great to see that the universities of applied sciences are increasingly claiming their role to help regions, Member States and the EU realise their ambitions in the field of science and innovation. With their close relations with SMEs, knowledge and experience to bring research results to the market and international networks, the universities of applied sciences have much to offer. The creation of UAS4EUROPE will definitely facilitate and enhance the cooperation and contacts with the European Commission.”


Joint position paper on the role of UAS in Europe

As one of its first activities, UAS4EUROPE handed over a joint position paper to Robert-Jan Smits which outlined the further role of UAS within the European Research Area (ERA) in general and, more specifically, within Horizon 2020. The position paper highlights the strengths that UAS have to offer:

  • As regional connectors;
  • As key international players;
  • As competent project leaders and evaluators of European projects;
  • As consulting bodies;
  • As contributors to European entrepreneurship.

During the event, these core competencies were presented by representatives of the five organisations launching the UAS4EUROPE initiative:

  • St├ęphane Lauwick, President of EURASHE;
  • Tim Creedon, Chairman of UASnet;
  • Walter Schober, Vice President of Hochschule Bayern e.V., Germany;
  • Luciana Vaccaro, Rector of the University of Applied Sciences and the Arts Western Switzerland, speaking on behalf of swissuniversities;
  • Kurt Koleznik, Secretary General of the Association of Austrian Universities of Applied Sciences FHK.


The position paper is available here. View an animated presentation of the paper underneath:

If the video doesn’t open, view it here.


Ideas on the European Innovation Council (EIC)

In addition to the position paper, UAS4EUROPE has already made an official contribution in April 2016 to the open consultation on a future European Innovation Council, as proposed by European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas.

The UAS4EUROPE statement is available here.


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